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Ziggy587
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Best Free Video Chat Service? (All Things Considered)

by Ziggy587 Sun Apr 12, 2020 7:50 am

So with social distancing, video chat companies are seeing huge increases in use of their services and webcams are sold out every where. So what's the best video chat service? And by all things considered, I mean...

There's a lot of great free services out there, but I'm trying to figure out what the best ONE would be to set up my family with. I'm trying to avoid using one app for this group of people, using another app for that group of people, and so on.

For example, FaceTime is great, but only for those with Apple devices. Facebook Messenger is apparently great, but only for those with a Facebook account. I want to try and set my parents, aunts and uncles up with video chat, but being that they're all 65+ not all of them have Facebook. Heck, I actually don't have Facebook.

So I'm trying to find the best solution that's free and available on most platforms. I would want apps available for PC, Android and Apple so people could use whatever device they would want. Here's a few that I'm considering, but I will consider other suggestions.

1) Microsoft Teams - I've been using Teams at work for a while now and I really like it. It works great as an IM client, and I love you can share screens and even give/take control. And we've been using the video chat feature a lot the past couple of weeks, and that works really good as well. And I believe it's available on all platforms. I'm looking at which features the free version has, and I'm wondering what the catch is or what I'm missing. This seems like the best one to me.

2) Skype - Seems like it has mostly the same features as Teams, but I've never actually used Skype so I'm unfamiliar with it. It looks like the only thing you have to pay for is anything revolving around a 10 digit telephone number. Video chatting and IMing looks to be all free, with no limitations. It comes pre-installed on Windows 10 which is convenient. Is there any reason to consider Skype over Teams?

Here's some others I looked into but I don't think are as good of a choice...

Google Duo - Looks like it's available on Android and Apple devices, as well as any PC through a web browser. But it looks like it is ONLY a video chat app. I like how with Teams, I could be IMing with someone then decide to video call them or share my screen.

Google Hangouts - Looks like you can IM and video chat, but if you can video chat than what is the purpose of Duo?

Zoom - Free and multi platform, but limited to 40 minute group sessions (although it looks like one-on-one sessions aren't limited). Still, I'm liking how Teams and Skype has more features and seems easier for everyone to use.

Facebook Messenger - This seems like the best choice for anyone that already has Facebook, but I have a few family members that are resistant to creating an account!
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SamuraiMegas
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Re: Best Free Video Chat Service? (All Things Considered)

by SamuraiMegas Sun Apr 12, 2020 3:27 pm

Discord is hands down the best communication platform out there right now. Can do video/voice calls and screen share.
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Ziggy587
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Re: Best Free Video Chat Service? (All Things Considered)

by Ziggy587 Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:46 pm

I have to admit, I haven't messed around with Discord much. Only in a web browser a few times. Seems like it would be a tad complicated for an older crowd (ie my 65+ family). I'm actually kinda leaning toward Skype right now.
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Re: Best Free Video Chat Service? (All Things Considered)

by opa Mon Apr 13, 2020 6:21 pm

Skype is probably the easiest thing to use. If you have a PC, chances are you pretty good have a Windows machine so you're good to go there. Also, I think Skype is also available as an app so most smart devices should be able to use the service.
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